Suicide Squad (2016): a recap (part 6 of 9)
NOTE: This article is a work in progress.
Please check back soon for more installments!
Heretofore on Suicide Squad: Our titular Squad began their first big assignment: to travel to
Gotham Central Star National Fawcett Coast Keystone Gorilla Midway City and rescue an unidentified person from a brother/sister duo of omnipotent wizards who are wrecking everything. It’s going as well as can be expected: seventeen thousand tar monsters dead and only one casualty. Harley Quinn’s still waiting on a rescue. Diablo’s finally using his powers again. Everyone’s bored and wants to go home. Something of consequence may happen soon.
After the fluid-drenched flashback that ended last week’s segment, Deadshot tries to bring a high-strung Harley down to Earth, and she points her silly gun at him.
“Have you ever been in love?” she asks. “Naw, never,” says Deadshot. She’s incredulous, but he insists, “You don’t kill as many people as I’ve killed and still sleep like a kitten if you feel shit like love.” Satisfied, Harley holsters her weapon, muttering, “Another textbook sociopath.”
This is plainly not true. We know Deadshot loves his daughter; it’s one of the few things we know about him. Is Deadshot lying to Harley, then? Or to himself? His character’s too thinly sketched to know for sure, and I’m not sure knowing would change anything.
They finally get to the floor with our mysterious target. Flag has the Squad wait out in the hall for a bit of phony forced drama while he goes to collect—dun dun dun dunnnn—Amanda Waller.
Apparently Waller popped into town to study Chester’s rampage, but stuck around after things went tits-up to study Enchantress; specifically, the way Enchantress “…can take a yoga mom, an elderly retiree, and turn them into a soldier who can take a headshot and still fight.”
Incidentally, she’s also upset at Flag for failing to keep an eye on Enchantress and proving to everybody that her plan sucked and she’s horrible. Then Deadshot wanders in (the soldiers guarding him must have disappeared again), and he’s totally not surprised to see her, making that earlier moment of phony forced drama even phonier and forced-er.
The Squad’s job is to escort Waller to the top floor of the building so that helicopters can evacuate her. Because they are the only six people in the whole country who can do this. Since the helicopter’s short on seats, Waller goes the direct route and whips out a gun, shooting all her underlings dead. Deadshot characterizes this move as “gangsta”.
“They weren’t cleared for this; any of it,” Waller tells Flag. Hey lady, I don’t know how long you’ve worked in government, but security clearance isn’t that big of a deal. Just fill out your SF-86, and if they mention the witch thing, claim you hit “send” too early and make as many addenda as you need.
Waller steps outside, and the rest of the Squad is considerably less chill than Deadshot. They circle around her menacingly, but she opens up the Explode-a-Head app on her phone and waves it at them.
So it’s with a rather subdued air that they congregate on the roof of the building waiting on their chopper. Flag can’t get the pilot on the radio and deduces that the chopper’s been hijacked. The rear hatch opens and Joker’s D’Onofrio-esque henchman strafes the roof with mini-gun fire, while Joker sprays his ridiculous chrome AK to feel like he’s helping.
Another henchie disarms Harley’s neck bomb with computer magic, and she gets a text from Joker saying “NOW!”
Deadshot tells Harley not to run away, even though he was asking to run away with her twenty minutes ago. Harley comes out from hiding, strolls right into the covering fire, jumps, and grabs a rope that Joker tosses out to her.
Waller tells Deadshot to shoot Harley. “She ain’t do shit to me,” he protests. “You’re a hitman, right?” she spits. “I got a contract. Do it for your freedom and your kid.”
“Now she dead,” Deadshot says. He dramatically lines her up in his sights and fires. Harley tumbles convincingly down the rope and hangs limp.
But the joke’s on you for thinking a Will Smith character could be even a little bit edgy! He didn’t really shoot Harley, and she somehow knew he wasn’t going to (even though she called him a sociopath five minutes ago). She’d be free and clear if she just played dead until she was out of sight, but instead she immediately perks up and grins in a classic “just foolin’!” gesture.
Joker hauls Harley up and pulls her in for a cheesy smooch, promising to take her home to “grape soda on ice, and a bearskin rug”. Meanwhile, Waller’s radioed another chopper, and in short order, Joker’s chopper has had a less-than-advantageous meeting with a missile. Harley tumbles out the hatch, lands on a nearby rooftop, breaks her fall with a tuck-and-roll, and runs to the edge to watch her beloved abuser perish in a fiery crash.
Waller gets picked up in the chopper that just shot Joker down, but her pilot stupidly decides to fly straight down and take a route close to street level, putting them all in the range of Chester’s orange Spawn tentacles. He grabs the helicopter right out of the sky and crashes it. Tar mummies swarm it and take Waller hostage.
So now the Squad has to go after Waller again, because their mission is technically incomplete. They make their way back down to the street and run into Harley, who’s having teh sadz on top of a car and getting rained on sexily. She rejoins the Squad on the spot.
And just like that, the entire rescue/mission subplot becomes a fart in the wind. It’s almost like you could have removed the Joker from the movie and absolutely nothing would have changed.
Meanwhile, Chester gets Enchantress’s heart out of Waller’s suitcase and puts it back in her chest. This brings her power level over 9,000 and enables her to finish her vaguely-defined doomsday machine. She can also make tentacles erupt out of her butt to read Amanda Waller’s mind and find out how to destroy “her armies”.
The Squad reaches the crashed helicopter, and Waller is nowhere to be found. Deadshot deduces that with Waller not present, the team is going to “that swirling ring of trash in the sky”.
He picks up a top secret dossier fortuitously left in the helicopter, speed-reads it, and throws it at Flag in disgust. “You tell everybody everything,” he says, “or you and me are gonna go now.” Damn, dude, your neck bomb still works; that’ll be one short fight.
There’s no reason for Flag to assent to this, but he does. He admits that there was a “non-human entity” loose in the Midway City subway system and that they sent “a woman with incredible abilities” in after him. We flash back to that scene in part 4 in which Flag and Dr. Moone appeared in the tunnels beneath Chester and then the editor had a stroke.
Here’s what we didn’t see then: Flag’s plan was to prime a bomb with a two-second fuse and have Enchantress teleport the bomb over to Chester and set it off. Surprisingly, it’s not that bad of a plan; it only failed because neither Flag nor Waller seemed to know that the “non-human entity” was Enchantress’s brother, who she released and was about to team up with. Instead of taking the bomb away with her, Enchantress pushed the button on the timer and peaced out.
So, to recap: the big reveal was that the witch (whom we knew about) who was fucking her guard (which we knew about) and ran away to join her brother (which we knew about)—get this: pushed a button before she ran away. David Ayer officially just broke his own record for Lamest Plot Twist.
Deadshot, who at no point has been told anything about this mission, becomes outraged that he wasn’t told anything about this mission. He’s disgusted enough to ditch Flag and go to a nearby bar to find out how wasted you need to get to forget you were in Suicide Squad. The rest of the Squad follows suit, even Katana, who’s suddenly down to ditch her job and hang out with criminals.
I won’t bother recapping the bar scene in detail because it just drags on for fucking years. There’s a lot of bellyaching about how they came so close to proving themselves and failed, and now they’re getting thrown under the bus because they can’t have normal lives and society hates them just because they love committing crimes and hurting people. There are some halfhearted stabs at having the characters find some respect for each other and bond over their shared plight. The dialogue is so stilted and unfocused that the scene plays out like seven people having nine different conversations via glitchy Skype connections.
But there are three big takeaways here:
1) Diablo admits that the reason he’s such a mopey bastard is that he accidentally burned down his house and killed his girlfriend and kids in a fit of jealous rage. This is shown in a flashback (of course) in which Diablo’s old lady dissolves into ash in his arms while he bellows melodramatically in a very telenovela fashion.
2) Flag comes in and admits that he was playing hide-the-broomstick with the witch (which is incidentally why the tar mummies keep chasing him). He moans a lot about what a stupid fuck-up he is, breaks his wrist computer, and tells everyone they’re free and should probably get somewhere less witchy.
3) Inspired by Flag’s news that his daughter’s been writing to him every day, Deadshot does an about-face and tells Flag he’s going to help him kill the witch. “My daughter is going to know that her daddy is not a piece of shit,” he promises. The whole rest of the Squad decides to go with him, because that’s the way the movie goes.
Next time: A big climactic showdown! Stick around as our supervillains discover that the most diabolical plot of all… is friendship.